Date: 5th March 2008 at 8:19am
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Pedro Mendes made his return from injury yesterday in a behind closed door friendly with Bournemouth.

The friendly was specially arranged to give players that have been injured, or lacking games recently the chance to play, as well as the fact that our next reserve fixture is a day before we play Birmingham, so many of the 1st team players would not have been able to feature in that game as reserve coach Paul Groves explained on the Pompey Site: ‘the idea was to get a game into players who have not been starting for the first-team too much in the last few weeks.

‘Lauren last played at Bolton and Sean Davis hasn’t started for a while, for instance, while Pedro is coming back from surgery.

‘John Utaka has been on the bench since the Africa Cup of Nations and Milan Baros didn’t play at Everton.

‘A lot of the players will not be available for our next reserve match against Fulham because it is the day before the first-team play Birmingham.

‘So this game was important for fitness and was a useful exercise against a strong Bournemouth side’.

The game was won 1-0 thanks to a goal from John Utaka, and after playing the full 90 minutes the night before Martin Cranie also came on for 15 minutes at the end of this game as he steps up his return to fitness – so this might be a sign that he could feature again this season afterall?

As for Mendes, after coming through the full 90 minutes with no ill effects to his ankle after surgery I say get him back into the starting line up ASAP – why not start this week at Old Trafford, alongside Lassana Diarra he was looking absolutely superb, they both were.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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